Why did I love this book?
The novel is about Ellie Arroway, a radio astronomer (played by Jody Foster in the movie of the book), who finds radio signals from extraterrestrial intelligence. They contain instructions to make a vehicle, by which she travels through wormholes to understand the nature of the Universe. The author, planetologist Carl Sagan, based Arroway on Jill Tarter, director of the real-life institute to Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). “Carl Sagan wrote a book about a woman who does what I do, not about me,” explained Tarter. “He did his homework, and thus included many of the ‘character-building’ experiences that are common to women scientists studying and working in a male-dominated profession, so [she] seems very familiar to me.” Sagan links Arroway’s/Tarter’s story with the way that ETs might make themselves known to us, and what we might learn from them.